Reports of yet another Filipina domestic helper losing her life, allegedly from mistreatment by her employer, has once again highlighted the plight of domestic workers employed in Kuwait.
The Philippines Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) identified the domestic helper as 47-year-old Constancia Lago Dayag from Agadanan, Isabel. Initial investigations have revealed that Ms. Dayag was brought to Kuwait’s Al Sabah Hospital with injuries to her body, but was declared dead on arrival. Reports said that the Overseas Filipina Worker (OFW) had bruises and wounds all over her body and that she had been sexually assaulted.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III appealed for justice from the government of Kuwait and wanted Ms. Dayag’s employer to face prosecution and the strongest possible punishment for the crimes that led to the death of the poor Filipina worker.
Bello condemned the abuse Ms. Dayag had endured. “Aside from apparent violation of the agreement on the protection of OFWs between our government and Kuwait, there appears to have been a breach of the employment contract by the foreign employer,” he said.
The Secretary also ordered the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) as well as Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) to further investigate the case of Ms. Dayag and locate the local and foreign agents that recruited her to Kuwait.
Responding to the issue, the Department of Consular Affairs at the Kuwait Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that it was following with concern details of the death of the Filipina citizen. The ministry offered sincere condolences to the family of the deceased and added that it would follow up with the authorities the circumstances behind the incident, and inform the Philippines’ authorities on the results of the investigation.
Meanwhile, the Charge D’ Affaires at the Embassy of the Philippines in Kuwait Mohammad Noordin Pendosina N. Lomondot stated during an exclusive interview with The Times Kuwait that results were still awaited from the forensic department of Kuwait on the case Ms. Dayag, and that the embassy was working closely with Kuwait authorities to resolve the case immediately.
Lomondot stated that on the 14 May when the case of Dayag was reported to the embassy, he immediately assigned embassy officials and lawyer to look into the case and act on the urgency of the matter. “I have already spoken to the officials at Kuwait’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to kindly look into the matter with utmost urgency so that we can repatriate Dayag’s body to her family” stated Lomondot. Furthermore, he added that the autopsy is currently being done and that embassy is also waiting the report. “In normal situation, a forensic investigation lasts for about 5 to 6 weeks, but we are hoping that the process is expedited so we can resolve this case immediately,” added Lomondot.
Reports in mainstream and social media sites commented that labor officials in the Philippines had suggested a further study on imposing ban of OFWs to Kuwait. These reports prompted several Filipinos in Kuwait to petition a total ban of deployment of Filipino household workers. However, Lomondot affirmed that no ban has been imposed and that relations between both countries are in good working conditions. “Kuwait Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Jarallah wanted this situation immediately resolved,” Lomondot commented.
For his part, the Vice Consul at the Philippines embassy Charleson Hermosura refuted reports on social media that there was a news blackout on the Dayag case. “There is no news blackout on the case of Dayag as well as other cases in the past. The Philippine Embassy has always practiced transparency in the media and have never failed to provide information as per media requirements. We are also unaware as to where such allegation came from,” stated Hermosura. “The Philippine Embassy has always welcomed the media and have always been very fair as well as in the dissemination of information to our OFWs,” added Hermosura.